Sunday, 9 December 2012

Review: Merlin 5.10: The Kindness of Strangers

Morgana is as fucking oblivious as ever.
I don't know why I bother with Merlin any more. Frankly it's a wonder I didn't give up back in Series Three. Why I'm so downhearted now is a bit more obvious, though, as we're three episodes away from the series' end and we're no closer to getting what we want. This episode promised a lot in terms of character revolutions, and we hoped that Morgana would finally work out that her nemesis, Emrys, has been Merlin all along. While this would be a bloody perfect time for that to happen, it failed to materialise and, as a result, we're still stuck in a semi-stagnant state.
     Old monk Alator, from all the way back in The Secret Sharer, made a return appearance this week as Morgana's torture victim. Luckily for Merlin, the great Scottish monk didn't give up the ghost and was summarily executed in a way which suggests that Morgana could have killed the entire court of Camelot if she didn't spend so much time procrastinating. Unluckily for Merlin, he did manage to get himself mixed up in the affair's of Alator's last diciple whom, after spending half the episode getting chased by Arthur's men, almost gets Merlin captured by Morgana, giving up her life in the process. Merlin gets rescued by Kilgarrah, who reveals that he's going to die and Merlin's deus ex machina won't work any more, and the message that Alator has passed on turns out to just be another repetition of the prophecy at this series' beginning.
      It's so frustrating that even at this ridiculously late stage, episodes like this can still exist. It was clearly trying to do something, but all it really did was set the series back on course after it's four-episode day trip the past. I really don't think that the writers know what they're doing with the series. Reading back, I expected that Morgana would learn of Merlin's nature back in Series Four, not this close to the show's demise. And she's still none the wiser, and it's frankly insulting to us as an audience. It's basically holding food and water over a starving child and yanking it away as they grasp upwards, and it isn't fun any more, it isn't enjoyable. This isn't suspense or intrigue, this is effing frustrating writing.
"Must disobey Gaius, even though he probably knows
what he's doing."
     There're only three episodes left to go now, but Merlin at the moment has taken me to Torchwood Four levels of annoyance and apathy. I will have to cover those episodes, if only to see whether this three-year exercise (five year if you count the series I haven't review) has all been worth it. This week proved that the writers really need to book up their ideas, and soon, or Merlin will probably go down as one of the most disappointing series finales this side of LOST. My apologies if this review has been a little mopey. But that, unfortunately, is just what reviewing Merlin does to me these days.


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